How do cells cope with their environment? Deciphering mechanical processes at the cell surface leading to signalling events and the adaptation of cells to changes in the environment.
My research interests lie in the understanding the molecular and physical principles that govern processes at the plasma membrane of cells. Particularly, by which mechanisms the force generating machinery of the cell cortex, structural filaments and motor proteins, govern and regulate the mechanical properties of the cell membrane and dynamics of cell membrane components, and vice versa, how membrane organisation and signalling events feed-back to the regulation of the cortex machinery. These mechanisms, which in turn regulate cell motility and cell-cell interactions, underlie important, poorly-understood human diseases that constitute global health problems. The lab employs novel assays based on reconstituted membrane systems in combination with measurements on live cells using state of the art fluorescence microscopy and mechanical manipulation.
I am interested in understanding the dynamics of adherence junctions during cancer metastasis using an artificial system of polymer-lipid complex of different stiffness.
I am studying dynamics between macrophages and formation of septate junctions in fly embryonic ectoderm.
The primary aim of my research is to experimentally validate long-standing questions and theoretical models pertaining to mediation of morphological changes in lipid membranes by a lipid anchored actin network. This will enable a better understanding of how the cell cortex can facilitate critical cellular functions, such as cell migration and cell division (in healthy cells and metastasising cells), as well as invasion by pathogenic bacteria and viruses. To this end, we use several imaging techniques, such as lattice light sheet microscopy, and a range of biophysical techniques to probe deformations of lipid membranes in giant unilamellar vesicles.
A 1min description of our research...
And when we are not at the bench, we do things like this...